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-Matt Axelson’s mother
Matthew Axelson (June 25, 1976 – June 28, 2005) was a United States Navy SEAL and Navy Cross recipient for his actions during Operation Red Wing.
Matthew Axelson was born on June 25, 1976 in Cupertino, CA to Donna and Cordell Axelson. He graduated from Monta Vista High School in 1994 and attended California State University-Chico, where he earned a degree in political science. He and his wife Cindy were married in December, 2003.
Matthew Axelson joined the United States Navy in 2000 rated as a Sonar Technician. He underwent Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training with Class 237 in Coronado, California. He was deployed to Afghanistan in April 2005.
Operation Red Wing
On June 28, 2005, SEAL Team 10 was assigned to kill or capture Ahmad Shah, a high ranking Taliban leader in the Hindu-Kush mountains. The SEAL team was composed of Michael P. Murphy, Marcus Luttrell, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson. Luttrell and Matthew Axelson were the team’s snipers while Dietz and Murphy were the spotters.
In the Hindu-Kush mountains, three goat herders stumbled upon one of the SEALs hiding face down against a log. The SEAL team captured the goat herders and voted to determine what to do with them. The team decided to let them go rather than execute them. Soon after, the herders alerted dozens of nearby insurgents, who then surrounded and attacked the SEAL team. The SEALs engaged in a fire fight against a force of about 80-100 Taliban fighters, led by the man they were sent to kill.
During the fire fight, Matthew Axelson was shot in the chest and head but continued to fight alongside Luttrell until a blast from a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) separated them. Along with injuries sustained from the blast, Matthew Axelson died of bullet wounds to the chest and head. When US Navy personnel arrived to retrieve his body for burial, they found that it was a few hundred yards away from the RPG blast location. Matthew Axelson was reported by Luttrell to have had three magazines remaining when the blast took place, however, when his body was found, he had only one magazine remaining, which indicates that Matthew Axelson continued to fight even after the blast.
Along with Matthew Axelson, Murphy and Dietz also died during the fight. Luttrell managed to survive his injuries and acute hardships with help from local Pashtun villagers.
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